Summer Hasn’t Given Up…..Yet!

Today’s temperatures were so mild!  Even when I took the Scotties out this morning before six,  there was a warmth to the air that was very comfortable.  While the morning began with drizzle and dark skies,  it brightened up mid-morning and turned out to be a partly sunny breezy day.  A lovely day for some photos, I might add!

Yeah, just another awesome day!

Shopping

Shopping is far from one of my favorite things to do.  I have become miserably inept at it, as a matter of fact!  I often think some of the smartest shoppers are those who frequently glean the ads from stores, planning a stategy,  and then venturing forth, knowing exactly what they are looking to purchase.  I guess that requires a good bit of logic, and I fail when it comes to such sensible purchasing power.  I am, it seems, a sucker.  I am the one that large corporations hire expensive marketing people to lure….easily swayed by verbiage and packaging that a savvy shopper would pooh-pooh!

There, I’ve said it! 

Mark, on the other hand, is one of those shopping elite, who spends hours researching and reading not only marketing blurbs, but also reading customer reviews.  He is able to weigh claims to cold, hard facts and formulate his own theory.  Mark is able to cut through the balogna and buy with confidence.  Oh how marketing must shudder seeing a well-educated shopper like Mark!

After doing much research,  we went out shopping today for a snowmobile.  There are four major manufacturers from which to shop-Arctic Cat,  Polaris, Ski-Doo, and Yamaha.  Mark and I found a brand new holdover sled that we thought would make a nice second sled for the kids and me.   It was an Arctic Cat with a small engine and one of the large dealers had it listed.

Mark and Ben had a quick bite to eat at McDonald’s before checking out our first stop. Ben laughed as we pulled into a parking spot while he and Mark ate.   This pair of gulls had found a perfect resting place to check out customers who might have a tidbit for the scavengers.  Ben said at least the car was white…

We arrived at the dealer’s shortly before lunch time this morning.  We strolled out back where the snowmobiles are stored and began looking at their inventory.  Now, Mark, Ben, and I were all looking together.  We sat on several models,  looked under the cowls at engines,  and asked a lot of questions.  The net result of visiting this dealership was that the salesman was full of hot air.  And himself.  We unanimously agreed that this dealership was nearly falsifying information to get customers inside their doors.  This stop was not without some good, though, as Mark also sat on some machines and reformulated his thinking on what might be best for his needs.

Mark said there was another dealer not too far from the first and he wanted to check them out as well.  This dealership was much more palatable.  Although selling older machines that were used, there was no air of balogna and the salesman,  who just also happens to be the owner,  was truthful and to the point.  He seemed almost cold,  but without a lot of words,  we knew he wasn’t stretching the truth.  He allowed the integrity of his inventory to speak for itself. 

After our second stop,  we stopped in the small town of Spencerport briefly while Mark fiddled with the GPS.

I’ve mentioned before how valuable I find storyboards located along points of interest.  This one provided information once again…I never knew why Rochester was termed the “flour city”.  Matter of fact,  I wasn’t even sure if it was “flour” or “flower”!   Well, thanks to this sotryboard,  I am now the wiser!

I love that one can get a self-guided education! Boy, would it be fun to drive the length of the Erie Canal and stop in all the towns.  I think one could reap a wealth of information! 

You might have noticed from my photos that today was dismal, dreary,  and drizzly!  I think it might have even qualified for the Scottish term “dreich”,  as it was also chilly and well, miserable!  Perhaps it wouldn’t have seemed so bad if I hadn’t had a headache.  This wasn’t just a headache, but felt like someone had placed visegrips on more than one point on my head!

We stopped at Taco Bell for lunch,  hoping some food would lessen the throbbing I was experiencing.  Taco Bell has these ridiculous lunches for $2.00.  I like one that comes with a gordita.  I got the $2.00 lunch which also included a soda and a small bag of Doritos. 

Eating was so satisfying and I chuckled as I munched, thinking this food was like comfort food.  I was almost convinced the headache was going away!  Then, when my food was all gone,  I realized I was still hungry!  This caused me to do something I have never, ever done before!  I actually ate a second gordita and bag of chips, giving Mark my soda! 

We had one more stop to look at a snowmobile Mark had found on Craig’s list,  being offered by an individual.  This was a bit of a drive,  and so I closed my eyes in the back seat and relaxed. 

We arrived and the young man selling the machine brought it around on the grass so we could see it.  He pulled up near Mark and as soon as the machine stopped,  out hopped a little field mouse with a wee baby attached!  Mark said it almost looked like the mouse was giving birth,  but it might have been nursing.  In any event,  the mouse ran under a car and hid. 

Lucky me to have had my camera all ready to go! By the time I kneeled down on the wet ground to photograph the tiny duo,  Mrs. Mouse had picked up her youngster in her mouth and was darting about, trying to find a safe place!

The young man selling this particular machine was honest and very willing to show his machine, even mentioning things that needed to be attended to, as he hadn’t driven the unit last year.  Mark chatted with this fellow for quite a while and as they spoke,  the rain picked up and turned from drizzle to actual rainfall.

It was an interesting day out-interesting seeing people at their best. And worst!  All in all, it was a day in which we learned some and realized one can never really shop solely by research, nor recommendation!  It was a day when Mark and Ben learned lots of new things.  And me?  Why, yes!  I might just have become a better shopper myself!

Looking Up…Literally!

As Mark and I were driving along Broadway in Buffalo last Sunday after the Sabres camp,  I had my Nikon camera with me, but we had to move along, as we needed to break camp at the campground.  The sky was a gorgeous blue and the sun was generous.  

I opened the window for this shot…

Opened the window and leaned out for this one….

This church seened like a bit of a sad statement.  It is located in a run down neighborhood as the boarded windows testify.

The church is very beautiful, but looks abandoned; however, the yellow sign in the above photo encourages folks to attend the 10 am mass on Sundays.

There are a few churches located on the route we traveled, but it is hard to capture good shots doing “driveby shootings”!

The following church wasn’t actually visable from the street….must have been another street over,  but I liked the double steeples!

Mark had to stop to adjust the GPS at one point and as we sat in a parking lot just outside of Buffalo, I thought I spotted a small church just beyond a stand of trees.  Mark,, knowing I was curious, drove over and sure enough, there was a small Ukrainian Orthodox Church.  Well, this church won my vote for “photo of the day”!  Just take a look at those awesome golden domes set against the sapphire sky!

I could easily spend weeks in Buffalo shooting photos.  There is so much diversity,  architecture, and points of interest.  Why, there is even some interesting stuff to see while looking up!

Spud Finds a Home!

While driving home from Buffalo on Monday evening,  Mark spotted little Spud lying alongside the busy highway.  Mark had pulled over to look at some trailers at a store and happened to see the lonely little fellow resting next to the roadway.  The best Mark could figure, when the truck he was in came down an incline to the bottom of the hill,  the truck must have “sprung” over a pothole in the road, causing Spud to dislodge from the back of the truck and tumble out onto the road.  Poor little fellow!

Mark summoned one of the kids to quickly grab Spud and bring him into the truck. Once in, we realized Spud wasn’t as petite  as he looked on the side of the road! 

We removed the gravel from his skin and in giving him a good sniff, he smelled so fresh!  I would venture to say he had been freshly excavated from the ground.  Tonight, I plan to give Spud a really good cleaning and cut him up into homefries….mmmmm….nothing like a really FRESH Spud, after all!

Since it Looks Like I Am Only Writing to Myself…

I will share something that happened yesterday that is too funny!

I have said on this blog before that I love technology.  Yeah, I know.  Crazy, isn’t it?  I admit, though, that I  do enjoy reading about what friends are doing on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.  I like reading email in between working around the house.  I often check on my cell phone to see if anyone has made a comment on a blog post. So, where is all of this leading?

Yesterday,  after dropping Ben off at school, Mark and I decided to just relax as we didn’t have anything pressing to do.  This is a rare treat, so I suggested we might park out on the pier and enjoy the lovely weather.  Mark agreed.

We were on the pier a short time when sleep overwhelmed me.  Yes, I was totally overcome by sleepiness and I leaned my seat back and drifted off. (Lest one should judge me wrongly, I was up until 12:30 the night before, reading.  Then, Murphy, for some inexplicable reason, decided to awaken me at 3:30 am.  To compound matters further, I was unable to go back to sleep!)  Can you imagine falling asleep in the truck, breathing in fresh lakeside air?  It was divine! I was suddenly awakened by Mark jiggling my arm.  I can’t remember the sequence of events,  but I heard a loud noise next to us and my cell phone was ringing.

I answered my phone and Mark motioned for me to get out of the truck to take the call from Michelle.  Now, remember, I had been asleep and was rather disoriented by Mark “kicking me out” of the truck.  I hopped out the door and clambered to a picnic table located across the street to speak with Michelle.

Mark was on the phone in the truck with an insurance agent,  getting prices, and with two people talking on cell phones in small confines,  it makes conversations nearly impossible. I sat outside and waited.  Then I got this brilliant idea to grab my camera and go for a nice little walk.  Which I did….

I was strolling about, making the most of my great photo shooting op, when Mark whistled to let me know he was off the phone.  I (casually) made my way back to the truck only to realize it was nearly time for us to pick the kids up.

Now, let me explain.  Mark had his laptop plugged into the inverter,  his cell plugged into the cigarette lighter, and my cell phone plugged into the USB connector on the inverter.   When I climbed back into the truck, there were cords everywhere!  What a mess! 

Mark cleared his “toys”…er, mobile office up a bit, then turned the key in the ignition.  C-L-I-C-K.  Umm….he turned it once again.  C-L-I-C-K.  Oh my.  He turned it one more time.  c-l-i-c-k. 

Yes, the battery was drained. Dead. Nada!  Mark opened his wallet and pulled out his AAA card.  He called the number on the card and the phone rang.  A girl answered and asked how she could help.  Mark began to answer and I began to giggle.  My giggling caused Mark to burst into giggles and he had to immediately hang the phone up.  We both sat and laughed until Mark looked at the clock and said we needed to get the kids shortly!

I more or less voluntarily left the truck again so Mark could make this call without giggling…..after all, what would the girl at the other end think?  It just seemed so hysterical that Mark and all his “gadgets” would drain the battery in the summer! (particularly on a warm and sunny day!)  Technology…so wonderful, but draining!  Literally!

The call was made and a garage despatched.  Mark got a call saying the fellow driving a FLATBED would be there soon. Well, we no sooner got off the phone when the aforementioned flatbed came into sight with a silver car on its bed. 

The guy cheerfully greeted Mark,  who popped the hood of the truck.  The guy already had a “supercharger” in his hand and as soon as he clipped the wires on, he told Mark to try and turn ‘er over.  V-room!  Instant start!  The guy took the charger off and closed the hood. 

Mark mentioned that he had seen the silver car on the flatbed driving down the pier just a short time before with what looked like the starter hanging out and the front end smashed!  The guy smiled and confided the driver had no idea how it happened, but it happened on the pier!  Mark later told me the loud noise I heard was “parts” dragging from the car after its accident.  Mark thinks the fellow drove up over the curb or some such thing.

We all laughed and our guy turned and wished us a good evening. No charge as he was already on the pier!

Well, after such a blessing….the AAA guy being right there and getting to us in time so the kids didn’t have to wait….we laughed all the way home!

A Little Escape to Buffalo

It is that time of the year once again for the Buffalo Sabres Training Camp.  We have enjoyed visiting every year as we get to see some of the new players working hard to earn a place on the team.

The camp started with some hullaballo on Saturday, but we just had so many things on our plate, we didn’t leave until Saturday afternoon.  We packed the little camper and moved on out much later than we had originally anticipated.  I guess it was okay in the long run, though, as hurrying to leave is just too stressful!

When we pulled into the campground, the office was already closed, so we just picked a site and set up.  The most wonderful thing about camping this time of the year is that there are few other campers.  I love it, because during the summer months,  camping can get pretty overwhelming….while I love campfires and such, sometimes the smoke from too many fires is a bit too much! 

We pulled into our site and there were a total of three other campers parked in the same area!  They were far away from us, so you can only imagine how awesome this was…..we felt as though we owned the entire campground! It was so nice.

The kids decided they wanted to study and work on their homework, so on Sunday morning,  Mark and I set out alone to the Sabres camp.  It was nice, as the Scotties were left with the kids.  I think the four of them had some fun together!  And Mark and I felt at ease to enjoy watching the players!

I smiled when the Zamboni came out to resurface the ice.  One of the commentators for the game always calls out when a player gets the puck up over the goalie’s shoulder….he calls such a play “on the top shelf where Mama hides the cookies”!

Well, one of the large supermarket chains located in Buffalo is “Tops” and they had the slogan paineted on the side of the Zamboni, slightly modified!

I won’t bore you with countless photos of hockey, but after the session, Mark wanted to go to a Sam’s Club to find a new GPS, as our previous one (faithful for about four years)  was fritzing out!

Mark used a GPS ap he found on his cell phone and it actually worked nicely, although lagging a bit.  Thankfully, this was on a Sunday afternoon and there wasn’t a great deal of traffic on the roads!

The GPS led us along a section of Buffalo I was unaware of….namely, the Buffalo Irish Heritage District!  What a pleasant surprise!  As we passed the Buffalo Irish Center, we heard Irish dance being done inside.

Here are some photos along the way….not that much to photograph, really, as the Irish district looks pretty similar to other neighborhoods, save for some wee differences….

Oh my….there are times when a photo alone will not suffice. As we drove along the road,  poor Mark began to freak out!  “Katya!  I can’t read these street signs!!!! The font is so weird and I can’t make them out!”

Well, that in and of itself was worth “the price of admission” (so to speak) but I assured Mark everything was oaky…the English translation was located underneath on the “regular” blue street signs!

Buffalo is a city of rich ethnicity.  One of the largest groups has to be Polish, as well as Italian. I’m not sure that either of these groups has a specific neighborhood,  but I certainly enjoyed seeing the Irish influence as we passed along Bothar Abboid. (sorry about the proper “marks” being left out…not that savvy with such devices!)

Photos from the Phone

 I cannot even believe it is Sunday….where has the week gone?  Ofr us, it was a busy one and full of running about! 

Mark had to drive his mom to a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, so I went along and was able to pop into the hospital to visit briefly with my Amish friend.  Her baby is growing and seems to be doing well, although progress seems much too slow for her mom.  In pondering the situation,  I imagine it is a rough transition, living at the Ronald McDonald House, but Eunice is so sweet and she is so grateful for all the services provided.

Please pray for another one of my friend’s daughter and her family.  They also gave birth to twins prematurely, at twenty-six weeks.  One twin passed away shortly after birth, but the other seemed like a tiny little fighter.  She passed away early Friday morning, in her mom’s arms.  Such grief is so overwhelming for a young couple, although I know their faith will carry them through.

I had some photos on the phone that I thought I would share.

Wild grapes spotted at the park where Mark, Michelle, and I walk.

Sunrise taken while escorting Miss Michelle to college one beautiful morning.

Last Thursday, after taking Michelle to school, I found one of those rare times when I was all alone and I needed to wait for the bank to open. What an opportunity to walk around the city of Canandaigua a little! I have not done so in ages…

Well,  I have seen Horses on Parade, deer, squirrels, lighthouses, and now, (something seemingly a bit more practical?)  Benches on Parade!

The benches call out to passers-by with various messages from sponsors.

But my favorite implores one to sit down and “strike up a conversation”!

Yes, thought I might throw in a shot of the completed front porch.  I really like the colorful posts and Ben said the red is kind of growing on him, too, although he said he doesn’t like the floor color at all.  Ah well, it can be changed….at some point!  And while I’m at it,  I thought I would give a heads-up to anyone local for Sauder’s in Seneca Falls.

I bought those gorgeous Bachelor’s Buttons….one of my very, very favorites at Sauder’s for $5.49 each.  As you can see, they are more like bushes than flowers.  They also have a rainbow of Mums available.

We headed east on Friday to look at some snowmobiles and to gather information.  Yesterday, we left and headed west toward Buffalo.  The Sabres training camp is open to the public, so we thought we might have a look.

I have more photos from my cameras, but they will be for another time. When I find some time!

From Disappointed to Awestruck!

I really have not been getting out like I want to lately to take photos.  Just yesterday, I drove down to Naples to pick Michelle up from Cindy’s house.  On my way down, I decided to take Route 21 so I could drive past Woodville.  I really shouldn’t have done that, for as I drove past the boat launch,  I spotted two Bald Eagles perched in “the tree”.  I was so upset,  I felt like crying.  I’ve not been out in my little kayak in ages and that is upsetting, too.  What a fantastic photo op I had to pass by….

Today was spent running around.  We dropped the kids off at college, then hastened to Rochester to take Mark’s mom to the doctor.  Since we never are quite sure how long the visit will last at the doctor,  it is hard to consider taking the time to do a photo shoot.  Mark and I must have waited well over an hour, so once again,  I felt a twinge of anxiety over not being able to spend the time doing what I so love.

After dropping Mark’s mom off at home,  we headed on down to Henrietta because we needed to stop at a couple of stores.  I hurried about, then asked Mark if I might be able to take maybe 45 minutes to visit Eunice and little Baby Susanna.  He agreed, so I hurried into the hospital to visit.

Little Susanna is slowly growing….starting life at one pound, fourteen ounces and beginning life fourteen weeks early, this wee one has had some big stumblingblocks to overcome!  She is still so very tiny, although I think she must be up to about three and a half pounds now.  Eunice was there with her mother-in-law, so it was great to visit with both ladies! 

Sarah Mae (Eunice’s mother-in-law) left the room for a few minutes and I said to Eunice I would love to see little Susanna with her eyes open, as I’ve only seen her with them closed!  As though on command,  the tiny one opened her eyes and began looking around!  She turned her head toward my direction as I spoke, as though listening!  Eunice held her and cooed and smiled and Susanna looked so intently at her….I told Eunice I wish I could take just one photo of er and Susanna, but she told me it is against their beliefs….I would never ask her to do anything that would be uncomfortable or against her beliefs, so I tried to etch the image into my mind.  It was just so tender and beautiful.

We had to pick the kids up in Canandaigua at about 5:30, so Mark and I began making our way.  Mark was anxious to get the kids, then drive to the business where we bought the trailer to pick it up.  I was far less anxious….I just wanted to go home! 

We picked the kids up and then drove towards the business.  We got there at almost seven and Mark went inside the store, as he wanted to try to sit on one of the snowmobiles.  Those of us who are able to get around with ease have no concept of the hurdles experienced on a daily basis by those with limited mobility.  Mark has been concerned about getting a snowmobile, as he needs to know whether he can freely get on and off the vehicle.  Thankfully, dealers have been very gracious and understanding,  patiently encouraging Mark as he tries out the models and their seats.

We talked to the saleswoman for awhile, then as it began to darken outside,  we thought we had better hurry to get home.  Mark was excited to try pulling the trailer, but not in pitch black darkness. As we left the building,  I was less than prepared to see what was awaiting us!

When we picked the kids up at college,  the skies looked like this on our way….

My mom told me as a little girl that the rays of sun beaming down through the clouds were angels picking up the souls of people who passed away and taking them to heaven.  Well, those angels must have been very busy today!

While leaving the premises of the business later, this is what we saw.  I don’t need to make any further comments!

Okay, I did lie here, as I need to explain that while the sun was washing the sky in nearly the entire spectrum of shades on the color wheel,   I spotted a slight rainbow to the east of us!

I think I could have stayed in the parking lot for another hour….I was taking photos and just absolutely enjoying myself as I’ve not done in ages.  I even took one last shot through the (dirty) window at the (dirty) side mirror on the truck….

Yes, probably most folks would cower displaying such  a photo, but I was so awestruck by the sunset this evening!  I am always so thankful how the Lord sees my discouragement and sends something so incredible as this bejeweled sky to turn me around!  Yes, I am spoiled….but I say that not as one who gloats,  but as one who is so dearly loved!

Bears?

Hmm….

In thinking back, a few years ago, we got a call from a neighbor about half a mile up the road.  They had seen a bear walking on their property and it ws headed in our direction.  They were calling to make sure wedidn’t have our Scotties outside.

Our neighbor immediately up the hill from us called one February afternoon to say that they saw a bear walking on their driveway towards our house.

While house sitting a house not too far from us, a bizarre thing happened.  I had noticed a large nest of paper wasps living under the deck. I didn’t think anything more about it until a couple of weeks later.  As I walked around the house,  I noticed a hole in a board on the deck.  I went down and looked…sure enough, the wasp nest was gone.  The hole looked like “something” had scratched it.  Upon looking around,  I discovered a small pile of animal waste.  It looked rather “seedy”, so I took my camera and photographed it.  Sure enough, when the homeowners came home, the husband (a hunter) said the photo was of “bear scat”.

One day when I talked to our neighbor across the road, she said she awakened one night.  In looking out the bedroom window, she saw something very large moving down below.

How could all of our neighbors have seen bears and I’ve not seen one?  Not fair, say I!

Well, if all of the above is just heresay,  how about this?

I took these photos “just around the corner” from our house.  Our land isn’t too far away from DEC land. (Department of Environmental Conservation)  Yes, the map above says it all.   Our area is prime for bear hunting. 

Gosh, that makes me feel so much better!  Here we were, traipsing about all over,  wondering if we would see a bear in the Adirondacks and we have them living in our own backyard!